I just so happened to be wearing my yellow Kona Brew T-shirt when we sat down at Babalu on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, making it extremely difficult to pass up the Fire Rock Pale Ale I saw on the menu.
It has been one of my “go to” beers lately when nothing else sparks my interest, very drinkable for how much flavor it has – sort of everything you’d want in a dinner-table beer.
As lame as that picture seems, I was in heaven, sitting at a table in the corner of the Caribbean-influenced restaurant, sipping a good brew and surrounded by good friends. If I could give one piece of advice to a young person, it would be to put oneself in such a situation as often as possible.
I ordered the honey/ginger shrimp with pineapple/coconut rice (pineapple rice has been a thing with me recently, I guess). My shrimp were perfectly cooked (slight grill marks) and a coconut sauce for dipping tied the whole dish together.
The most interesting part of the meal was the “coleslaw,” only because it was nothing like the traditional recipe – no buttermilk or mayonnaise. Instead they used balsamic vinaigrette over onions and cucumber. That’s it. I know that sounds so incredibly boring and bland, but it worked so well to wash out the sweet tang of the shrimp and pineapple rice. Life is simple, sometimes.
I only had one beer at dinner in order to prep for the liquid feast that was to come at Father’s Office, an upscale pub just down the street. Their gourmet burgers are delicious, FYI, but we were not there to eat.
The sunburn on my face made me chilly as the night went on (sorry, East Coast readers), prompting me to order a Maui Coconut Porter. Thick, dark, and malty, there was a strong presence of what turned out to be the flavor of the evening, and I loved every sip of the chocolate/coffee/coconut combo.
And then I had a tripel (don’t recall the type) and the whole evening turned warm (that was definitely the drink that did it).
I had a Duvel after – which I usually love – but it tasted much sweeter to me than it ever has. I think that damn tripel stunned a few taste buds.
I am talking an awful lot about the beers (and they were obviously the treat of the evening), however the true blessing was the pace and ambiance of Father’s Office.
You can have your ten Miller Lites – I’ll take a slow-sipping, smile-inducing pint of an unidentified tripel and a tableful of good conversation any day of the week.